Informal trails fragment the landscape in a high conservation area in the Andes
Areas of high use with free access often end up dissected by networks of trails. As a result, large areas of intact communities can be converted into numerous smaller subpatches (Leung et al., 2011). This type of internal fragmentation has a range of detrimental effects, including those directly due to damage from the trails, but also due to the edge effects of trails. In addition trails can restrict movement among subpatches for species with short dispersal distances, while enhancing the movement of other species along the trails. As a result the total area of intact vegetation is reduced along the trails, and on the verges, but also within subpatches. Changes in vegetation can include reductions in the cover, height, biomass of native plants, changes in species composition, and the introduction and spread of weeds (Monz et al. 2010; Wimpey and Marion, 2011). This multitude of impacts associated with fragmentation due to trail networks is of particular concern in high altitude parks that support rare and fragile ecosystems characterized by slow rates of recovery from disturbance (K沮er, 2003). We assessed how trail networks have fragmented two high conservation value plant communities close to the entrance to the highest altitude protected area in the Southern Hemisphere, Aconcagua Provincial Park.
Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected Areas: Outdoor Recreation in Change – Current Knowledge and Future Challenges
Impacts of Tourism